Sunday, August 7, 2011

A Sunday Morning Run in the Rain

Wow! It's been like forever since I last wrote on my blog. The last couple of months were quite stressful with a loved one getting ill, ending up having surgery in the hospital, and coming home to rest and recuperate with new mechanical parts in her body. I jokingly call her the "Bionic Woman". Seriously though it was hard to see her gradually change before my eyes from a healthy, robust, active, bubbly, cheerful, talkative, assertive person to one dependent on somebody just to get off bed, weak (physically), always feeling tired, sentimental, emotional, with a distorted sense of humor ( always joked about haunting me if she dies). I always reminded her not to renege on her promise for us to grow old together. Occasionally, I would joke her back by saying only the good die young.

On the home front, I still keep myself abreast with what is happening in the home country. I closely follow the controversy about an RH bill in the Congress, I read and listen to the pros and cons. Personally, I think it is about time the Philippine Congress enacts and passes an RH bill into law. It just makes sense. With our limited land area, diminished natural resources, uncontrolled population growth, a sputtering economy not helped by a world economy still reeling from the recent recession, an RH law is a must. For survival.

I was amused by PNoy's use (or overuse) of the word "wang wang" to make his points in his SONA. I like and am sold with the idea though. It is about time to rid ourselves of this wang wang mentality. If everybody is equal before God, then every Filipino should be treated equally irrespective of his status in life. Masyado tayong status conscious. It is obvious sometimes that some people from the rich and powerful class have this false sense of entitlement. Some think they are over and above the law. We need to get rid of these "wang wang" and "suntok" mentality for us to be able to compete with the Japanese, Koreans, Singaporeans. Our workers should feel they're treated with dignity and respect, and valued. Instead of saying to himself "nakakahiya" his mindset should be "kayang kaya ko ito". If our ordinary worker continues to unjustly get a "batok" or "suntok" from some powerful person without getting justice, we will not produce the confident and proud worker we need to propel the country to greatness. We will always remain the butt of jokes in Asia.

Now, on the running front. My mileage is way down.. In the last few months, my weekly mileage has averaged 15ks or less. That means 3 short 5k runs a week if lucky. Unlike when I was just starting to get serious with running in 2007 when I ran to lose weight, this time around, I have been running mostly to de-stress.

This morning was no different. Other than waking up early at 8 and preparing breakfast ( toasts, omellete, cream cheese, coffee, slices of orange, blueberries) for the whole family (Denise decided to leave her Toronto condo temporarily for the month to help her sick mom), I decided to lace up my running shoes for an early Sunday morning run. To de-stress.

Started my run on a warm and humid morning under overcast skies, no wind. Began my run slow because of the heat. Even with my slow pace I felt uneasy with my breathing. Everytime I tried to increase my pace, my breathing became more labored, so had to content myself with exceptionally slow pace. As I looked around my surroundings, noticed that plants and trees were much greener now than more than a week before. Understandable, because we just had rain in the past few days after the driest and hottest July here in Markham in years. As I passed by the nearby park and fields, I saw the grass and vegetation which were dry and brownish only days ago were now looking more lush and green. At the 1k mark, I was sweating like crazy. It was hot. Had to remove my hat everynow and then and wipe my face with my sleeve. I started to whistle to get some breeze. No luck. Mad at myself for not carrying any hydration. If only it would rain, I thought.

I looked up the gray sky and wished for rain. At the 2k mark light rain started to fall. I took off my cap again looked up and prayed a second time, "Lord, let it pour, please". And then it did. It rained so hard that by the 3rd k I could hardly see with my eyeglasses all wet and cloudy from water and sweat mixed together flowing down from my head and cap. Like a young kid playing in the rain, rejoiced, looked up, opened my mouth, stucked out my tongue as the cool rain water wet my dry mouth and thirsty throat. In a few minutes, I was completely drenched wet, including my shoes. I saw puddles of water in uneven portions of the asphalt road. I then noticed something. Big droplets of rain sometimes create bubbles as they drop in the puddles while most droplets don't. Amazing.

By the 3.5k mark it was still raining and as I looked ahead I could see 500 meters afar the woods which was part of my favorite walking/running route. The woods looked fuzzy from that far , maybe I thought from the rain, or the humidity because although it was raining it was still warm.

Was feeling tired, but enjoyed the moment, listened to my breathing, the squishing sound of my wet feet in wet socks inside my soaking wet shoes, the sound of my steps as my feet landed on the asphalt road or puddles of water. Felt the refreshing cool rain water mixed with my sweat trickle down my forehead, my face, my arms, legs. Felt my wet clothing get heavier as they hugged closer to my skin. A bird chirping. The beautiful music created by rain dropping on leaves, branches, flowers, my skin, my hat. And then my 5k run was over. Walked for another 500 meters with the rain still falling hard. Arrived home completely drenched but refreshed. De-stressed.

Peace and love.

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Markham's Spring Flowers

Lately our weather here in Markham, Ontario has been wet and gloomy. The month of May so far this year is the rainiest ever if my memory serves me right. Actually, as I am writing this blog it is drizzling outside again.

Yesterday, I took advantage of a lull in the rain in the afternoon. I did a 7k run in 50:18 minutes, a fast time for my standard. That run gives me a little bit of confidence in completing the Alfie Shrubb 8k on June 5 (in exactly 1 week) under 1 hour. Last year, I finished the race in 54 minutes and change. Plan A is to finish the race under 54 minutes.

This morning was a different story though. I woke up late and when I opened the door to our backyard, was pleasantly surprised to see a bright sunny day and heard birds chirping as if celebrating for such a rare beautiful day. I knew that the day's forecast was for rain later in the day, so I got dressed, picked a banana, filled 2 containers with gatorade and water, and rushed out of the house with a camera for a long solitary walk around my neighborhood (while the weather was still nice).

I took some pictures of Markham's spring flowers and other plants/trees (some wild) that I was blessed to see this time of the year along my running/walking route, and I am happy as always to share them with you.

Sunday, May 1, 2011

My Toronto Sporting Life 10k 2011 Run in Pictures

Had a fun time running the Toronto Sporting Life 10k with friends and more than 12,000 others in downtown Toronto on a cold, windy, overcast Sunday morning. Proceeds of the race go to a worthy cause, Kids with Cancer. A truly blessed day, considering it did not rain despite weather forecast to the contrary a day before. It was one of the best organized races I ever ran, safe course, enough marshalls, police officers, volunteers, hydration stations, bands playing music along the race course, food and drinks after the finish, a nice finisher medal, festive atmosphere.

Peace and love.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

A 10K Run in Markham in the Sunset

After a restful 3 hour nap , I decided to lace up my running shoes and get out for a solitary 7k run in this cool but sunny late afternoon. About 600 meters from my house is a small pond where geese congregate but they seem to be somewhere else at this time. Not even a kilometer into my run, passed by the nearby golf driving range where I used to hang around when golf and not running was still my fave activity 5 years ago. With winter over and warmer weather here to stay, construction of new housing close to home has resumed like this new development. Close to 2 kilometers into my run is a Petrocanada gas station and the sign shows how much we pay for gas here in Markham per liter, a whopping $1.27 per liter. Considering that Canada is one of the biggest oil producers in the world, the price we pay for gasoline is absurd. Dry grass remain standing upright even with all the snow, wind, and rain the past autumn and winter. The fairways of the nearby Angus Glen golf course will be abuzz with golfers in a months time when they turn to lush green. The Angus Glen golf course still brownish at this time of the year once had Tiger Woods and other PGA golfers walking its fairways and greens to play the Canadian Open. Passed by this quiet neighborhood along Major Mackenzie after Mc Cowan Road, with the sun slowly setting in the northwest. Met this solitary walker at the corner of Major Mac and Kennedy Road., as I waited for the pedestrian light to turn walk. We eyed each other, me thinking , what is this goose doing in a place like this alone when geese are supposed to be in a group, while the goose must be wondering what is this fat man doing running like crazy when he should just be walking. Played once in this golf course for a discounted price of $125 years ago. Not worth it when you score over 100 and wins the most honest scorer award.

Something about wooden bridges and streams that make me feel serene, peaceful, prayerful.

While the sun begins to set on the horizon, trees barren of leaves with their branches reaching up to the sky as if praying and praising the Creator create a breathtaking sight .

A small stream winding its way down to where I was.

Running back after reaching the 5k point.

Felt my hands get colder while the sun was setting, so had to wear my thin cotton gloves. The temperature at this time must have gone down to 5 above zero. I thought, I made the right decision to wear my Runningroom jacket on top of 2 layers of technical shirts.

For God so loved the world.....

Peace and love.

Did a total of 10ks (got carried away and added 3ks to the 7k i initially planned to run)

My next race is the Toronto Sporting Life 10K on May 1, 2011.